The flight route that connects the remote town of Hana with the main parts of the Hawaiian island of Maui could become the first ever where a commercial airline flies an electric plane, thanks to L.A.-based electric plane startup Ampaire.
Instead of building new planes, which could cost US$200 million dollars and require 10 years of development and certification, the company modifies a plane with two propellers, with one propeller replaced with a fully electric drivetrain, and the other with the original fuel system as a backup.
Ampaire is looking to partner with Mokulele Airlines, which flies short routes in Hawaii, and hopes to have passengers booking a flight on one of its electric planes by as soon as 2021.
Elsewhere, in Israel, Eviation aims to bring a fully electric plane to market by 2021, while US-based aircraft manufacturer start-up Zunum Aero, backed by Boeing and Jet Blue, hopes to deliver its first hybrid-electric planes in 2022, and Wright Electric is currently working on a larger, 180-passenger plane that is targeted to come to market in 2027.
Could these electric planes be a solution to the pressing need for the aviation industry to reduce its carbon emission? Read more in the Fast Company article here.